Cooperation between government and civil society is crucial in securing rights for people living with HIV, a UNDP- and IDLO-sponsored meeting was told.
Sexual identity is an inalienable attribute of the person, yet in many countries, repressive laws and exclusionary attitudes continue to victimize LGBTI (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals and intersex) people. In much of Africa and parts of the former Soviet Union, homophobic laws or religious taboos have, if anything, intensified: as well as justifying and stepping up official persecutions, these laws and taboos have served as a cue for citizens and the media to hound gays and lesbians, brutalize them, and in some instances, kill them. Prejudice has also meant that populations who are disproportionately exposed to HIV-AIDS are pushed into the shadows, ostracized and denied treatment.
IDLO is conscious of the enormous challenge of promoting LGBTI equality in conservative societies. For this reason, we have worked with human rights organizations to free LGBTI rights from their minority niche and make them part of broader human rights discourse. Our work on access to health also helps people with HIV, many of them gay, access vital services.
IDLO has worked with national human rights bodies in Asia to reduce discrimination related to sexual orientation and gender identity. The programe was carried out in collaboration with advocates from lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) communities, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Asia Pacific Forum for National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs).